Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Dirty Thirty: the most egregious corporate tax lobbyists / dodgers in the USA revealed

In their new report on Representation without Taxation, our colleagues at Citizens for Tax Justice have revealed that two years on from a Supreme Court decision allowing corporations to provide unlimited funding to political candidates, corporate tax lobbying has allowed the Dirty Thirty biggest corporate tax lobbyists and tax dodgers to collect US$10.6 billion in tax rebates from the federal government over a three year period.

According to CTJ:

"These companies so deftly exploited carve outs and loopholes in the tax code that all but one of them enjoyed a negative tax rate over the three year period of the study, while spending nearly half a billion dollars to lobby Congress on issues including tax policy. Altogether they collected $10.6 billion in tax rebates from the federal government."

While this comes as no surprise to those of us engaged in monitoring the tax dodging industry and their clients, the sheer scale and cost to ordinary people is mind-boggling. Again, according to CTJ:

"Ordinary American taxpayers and small businesses must pick up the tab when major corporations avoid their taxes. Spread out over every individual tax filer in America, the taxes avoided by the Dirty Thirty break down to an average of $481 per taxpayer over the three years."

$481 for each and every taxpayer in the US gives some idea of the enormity of the tax injustice being foisted onto ordinary citizens by a tiny and privileged minority; but that's just the Dirty Thirty. Looking at all Fortune 500 companies, CTJ came up with this:

"A total 280 profitable Fortune 500 companies collectively paid an effective federal income tax rate of 18.5 percent, about half of the statutory 35 percent corporate tax rate, while receiving $223 billion in tax subsidies."

How do they get away with this? Well the answer largely lies here:

"These 280 companies spent a total of $2 billion lobbying on tax and other issues between 2008 and 2010."

And, of course, our offshore friends played a major role in foisting this outrage on ordinary people: "at least 22 of the Dirty Thirty reported subsidiaries in offshore tax havens like the Cayman Islands. Since profit artificially shifted offshore is often counted as 'foreign' profits, the data likely underestimates the amount lost due to tax havens."

What can be done about this massive corporate tax lobbying? CTJ proposes the following:

To limit corporate money in elections, lawmakers should:

  • Require full and honest disclosure – the public should know who is funding what candidates
  • Empower shareholders – the shareholders that own corporations should have a say in how corporations spend their money on elections
  • Reverse Citizens United

Read the CTJ report here.


1 Comments:

Anonymous Kristen said...

Such a great article it was which While this comes as no surprise to those of us engaged in monitoring the tax dodging industry and their clients, the sheer scale and cost to ordinary people is mind-boggling. In which the Dirty Thirty reported subsidiaries in offshore tax havens like the Cayman Islands. Thanks for sharing this article.

9:20 am  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home